Ole Miss Football Players Use Spring Break For Good

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Rebels in Panama (photo courtesy of Kameron Wood)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Rebels in Panama (photo courtesy of Kameron Wood)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

March 12, 2013

By Joey Jones
Associate Director, Athletics Media Relations


Panama City has long been known as a popular spring break destination for college students. The warm weather and white, sandy beaches attract thousands of young people looking for fun and relaxation.

This year, six Ole Miss football players are traveling to Panama City for spring break week.

But it's probably not the city you're thinking of.

Senior linebacker D.T. Shackelford (Decatur, Ala.) is leading a group of Rebel teammates on a week-long mission trip to the capital city of the Republic of Panama, where they will visit an orphanage, feed the homeless, speak to school-age children and run a free football clinic, among other activities.

Fellow Ole Miss players Justin Bell (Jackson, Miss.), Ontario Berry (Mendenhall, Miss.), Josh Richardson (Moss Point, Miss.), Kameron Wood (Birmingham, Ala.) and John Youngblood (Trussville, Ala.), along with team manager Lee Plaxico (Aberdeen, Miss.), also volunteered to use their spring break helping the less fortunate people in the Spanish-speaking, southernmost country in Central America.

They are in Panama Monday-Friday this week before returning to Oxford on Saturday and immediately jumping into the team's first spring practice on Sunday.

The group is being led by Ole Miss football chaplain John Powell. The eight Ole Miss representatives are teaming up with 10-15 other college and professional athletes on the trip, as well.

"It says a lot about not only their character, but the environment that Coach Freeze and his staff have brought to this university," Powell said of the players' decision to use their one off week of the spring semester for a mission trip. "They understand the importance of giving back to those who are in need, and this opportunity gives them a chance to do that in a real way."

Powell is in his first full year as a member of the Ole Miss Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) staff and the football team's chaplain after serving as a regional FCA director in west Tennessee. He was the Lambuth University football team's chaplain when Hugh Freeze was head coach there.

Powell said that NCAA rules prohibited the players from raising financial support for the trip, so Powell raised support for the entire group of eight. He was overwhelmed by the response to his donation requests, as he received more than $1,600 above what was needed for travel and living expenses while in Panama.

"My hope is that we all come back realizing how blessed we are here and that will carry over into how we look at our teammates, how we serve our community, how we approach our education and being grateful for all those things," Powell said.

The idea for the trip was planted by a former Ole Miss player and current NFL wide receiver, Micheal Spurlock.

Spurlock, who was a quarterback for the Rebels from 2003-05, went on a short-term mission to Panama last year with Tampa Bay Buccaneers chaplain Doug Gilcrease and some teammates. Spurlock and his wife wanted to return this year but were unable to, so he reached out to his Ole Miss family to see if a group of current Rebels could go.

Gilcrease, who organizes short-term overseason mission trips for sports teams through Score International, got in contact with Powell, and Powell presented the spring break mission trip option in a players' Bible study. Six players and a manager expressed their desire to go, and now they are spreading the grace and mercy of God to the people of Panama.

So while these Rebels may not be lounging on the beach or partying with their friends in the other Panama City, they are gaining a spiritual and cultural experience they will never forget.

And they are using their influence and experiences as college student-athletes to bring joy and hope - and even a little football - to a needy people.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Rebels Ahead of Schedule in Year Three

      Thursday, November 20, 2014 - Football

      It's sometimes easy to forget where the Ole Miss football program was just three short years ago, when Hugh Freeze was interviewing for the head coaching position. The Rebels had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 10-16, 2014)

      Monday, November 17, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 10-16, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 16

      Sunday, November 16, 2014 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:-... read more

    • Getting Healthy, Staying Sharp on the Bye Week

      Friday, November 14, 2014 - Football

      No. 10 Ole Miss was without several starters and regular contributors against Presbyterian, and many others were limited.  But given an extra week of rest, head coach Hugh Freeze said he expects everyone, with the exception of the players out... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 11

      Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 11 - Presbyterian (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 3-9, 2014)

      Monday, November 10, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 3-9, 2014Football- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.-... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Nov. 9

      Sunday, November 9, 2014 - Football

      Austin Miller handled all of this week's edition of the Observations from the Best Seat in the House. Check out what he had to say below:- The nation's best scoring defense finally got its first shutout of the season, as... read more

    • Wilkins, Dodson Shine in Blowout Win

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss racked up the second-most yards in school history, totaling 640 yards, including 402 yards on the ground, in a 48-0 rout of Presbyterian. The Rebels were able to limit the reps for several players in the contest, with... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-PC

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 11 Ole Miss hosts FCS opponent Presbyterian in its final non-conference matchup of the regular season. Execute, Stay Heathy Saturday's game with Presbyterian is more about Ole Miss than its opponent, as the team's... read more

    • Injuries Create Opportunities for Young Players

      Thursday, November 6, 2014 - Football

      With injuries mounting on both sides of the ball, Saturday's game against Presbyterian presents an opportunity for young players and backups to gain experience and make an impression on the coaching staff. Among those injured players, head coach Hugh Freeze... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 10

      Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 10 - Auburn (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Path To Atlanta: A Little Homecookin'

      Monday, November 3, 2014 - Football

      A question we keep hearing is what needs to happen in order for the Rebels to get to the SEC Championship game. It's pretty simple, just cheer for the home team. The lone exception to that notion is Ole Miss'... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014)

      Monday, November 3, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014Football- No. 4 Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to No. 3 Auburn on Saturday night, 35-31.- In addition to losing the game, the Rebels lost star receiver Laquon Treadwell on what looked... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 2

      Sunday, November 2, 2014 - Athletics

      In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. There's a lot on our... read more

    • Rebels Look to Move on in Face of Adversity

      Saturday, November 1, 2014 - Football

      Dragging an Auburn defender on what initially looked to be a go-ahead touchdown, Laquon Treadwell fought his way toward the end zone, but had his ankle rolled over and fumbled into the end zone. In the moments that followed, the... read more